The U.N. Security Council is planning to vote as early as Tuesday on a resolution outlining Iraq's future. The Council met in a special Sunday session as sponsors expressed hope the measure might win unanimous backing.
The Security Council moved a step closer to adopting a resolution that would endorse Iraq's interim government that takes power at the end of this month.
The U.S. and British sponsors of the measure will introduce on Monday their fourth draft in less than two weeks. The fresh draft reflects changes negotiated during a weekend Council retreat, during which they received a briefing from U.N. special envoy to Iraq Lakhdar Brahimi.
U.S. Ambassador John Negroponte said the new draft will include as attachments a series of letters that spell out the relationship between the Baghdad government and the U.S. led multinational security force, or MNF, that will remain in the country. "The letters make clear that the Iraqi security forces, that is to say both their police forces and armed forces, will be under sovereign authority of the government of Iraq; and. secondly that a mechanism, indeed several mechanisms, will be established to ensure fullest possible cooperation between the Iraqi government on the one hand and the MNF on the other," he said.
Several other ambassadors expressed confidence that a consensus could be reached, enabling the Council to vote on the resolution as early as Tuesday. But French Ambassador Jean-Marc de La Sabliere said France is still insisting that guarantees of Iraqi sovereignty be in the text of the resolution, and not in attached letters. "We understand, and this is what we want to have in the resolution, that an agreement from the Iraqi government is required for sensitive operations, and we think it should be clearly put in the resolution, also," he said.
The Council will meet again Monday for further last-minute negotiations before a final draft resolution is placed on the table.
The rush to approval came as French and German leaders expressed hope the issue of a resolution could be settled before a G-8 summit that begins in the United States on Tuesday. German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder was quoted as saying he expected passage before the G-8 meetings get under way.